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Of the standard alpha-amino acids, all but glycine can exist in either of two optical isomers, called L or D amino acids, which are mirror images of each other. L-amino acids are the isomers found in proteins within the body. Amino acids are essential to life, have a role in metabolism, and are important in nutrition. They form short polymer chains called peptides, as well as longer chains that are called polypeptides or proteins. About 75 percent of the human body is made up of chains of amino acids and all the chemical reactions that occur in the body depend on amino acids and the proteins they build.